After an endless winter, we can only say, “April, you’ve been a long time coming.” We’ve been waiting for you since at least January, when already cold temperatures became colder and deep snow got deeper. We waited, not so patiently, through February and March as the Big Chill nagged us like a toothache. But now you’re here.
We’ve pinned warm hopes on you. Folks in Thunder Bay intend to kick off the month with thoughts of summer with the 16th Annual Spring Home and Garden Show April 4-6. Regardless the weather outside, you can wander through the show and plan for your summertime backyard parties and projects. While you are there, be sure to stop by the Northern Wilds booth in the Claydon Building and say hello. Afterward you can take a stroll along the waterfront, look across the icy bay and dream about the blue, blue water soon to come.
You may be surprised to learn not everyone is in a hurry for the ice to melt. In April, Minnesota ice anglers head for South Fowl Lake, our Fishing Hole of the month, on the Ontario border, which is one of the few lakes in this neck of the woods where the walleye fishing season remains open until April 14. They are not the only winter diehards. Skiers and boarders at Lutsen Mountains will mourn the end of winter with the Sweetwater Shakedown Music Festival April 3-5 and the Mountain Meltdown April 12-13.
Around the same time, others celebrate the first rites of spring. Steelhead anglers appear along North Shore rivers shortly after ice-out seeking chrome-bright rainbow trout making a spawning run from Lake Superior. They are joined by the creekers, semi-crazy kayakers who descend the same rivers when they tumble and roar with spring runoff. You can learn more about them in Lucas Will’s story in this issue. For both groups of river rats, cold brown water is a spring tonic.
Other folks find their tonic in their soil beneath our feet. They smile at the sight of spring’s first crocus and plant their dreams with garden seeds that arrive in April’s mail. Still others wander the leafless forest and seek its secret treasures—antlers dropped by moose and deer the previous winter and spring ephemeral flowers peeking through the leaf litter. They follow the beat of a familiar drummer, the male ruffed grouse beating his wings atop a mouldering log as he searches for a mate.
Maybe you know another way to shake off the Big Chill. If so, give it a whirl. We’ve waited long enough for April to arrive. It’s time to give the long winter the send-off it deserves.—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt